Hickoff Hunts N.Y.

HickofffallmidgeOL contributor Steve Hickoff is one of the first turkey chasers I've talked to that has hit the woods this fall (lucky dog). Here's what he had to report in a quick email upon returning:

I just got in from central New York state. Friday afternoon, my setter Midge split up a flock around 2:30 p.m. ( I heard putting, but no flying or barking.) It turns out it was four birds of the year—including a brood hen and what turned out to be a super jennie.

Post-flush, I set up nearby and called in this turkey and three others to within 10 steps and dropped it. (Tools: Remington 870/Winchester Supreme No. 5s/Quaker Boy "Kee Kee" diaphragm and slate/ time 3:45 p.m.). Noise from the shotgun blast moved them off slightly, and Midge (released from the bag post shot) sent the three winging in as many directions down the hill. All good—

After getting a few quick photos, I repositioned with my hunting bud, Marc, at the second flush site along an oak ridge (he'd been set up down below). We proceeded to call in two yelping hens using a combo of kee-kees, kee-kee-runs, clucking and lost yelping.

Hickofffallmidge2The three juveniles were also calling below us and closing fast. It was great early-season racket, don't ya know. Steps in the leaves crunched our way from the trail above the oak stand as I lay sideways, with Midge in her camo bag, and the two of us trying to look like a pair of Realtree/Advantage/NatGear/Mossy Oak-covered logs. Their mincing steps in the leaves got closer and closer and closer until I was staring sideways at two standing turkeys (eight steps, if that). I held off (1) wanting my bud to get the shot (he was facing the other way), and (2) not wanting to whiff!

The duo flushed at not seeing visual evidence of all our turkey noise…but not to fly away. They merely elevated up toward two tall oaks to have a look-see (it was just before 5 p.m., still too early to roost).

My buddy took a volley at one of the birds winging skyward, but his meant-for-standing-turks-only scope's aim missed and it flew off). The other hen just balanced and teetered at the top of that oak, putting and purring and looking down until we stood up and flushed her out of there.

At least we had 'em busted good for Saturday morning, which was calm, frosty, then blue-sky sunny. Midge and I loafed back at camp then, while my hunting bud got in there early, called the busted turkeys in off the roost and shot the jennie and a half. (She had pink legs, good size, but not quite an adult hen if you know what I mean). We hunted later, found grouse but no turkeys and let the ruffs survive another day.

HickofffallroadIt was a good hunt. We saw birds all the way down from Maine and back. Flock sizes ranged from eight to a half-dozen. It couldn't have asked for a better weekend weather-wise.

Hickoff lives in Maine and will hunt there as well as some other New England hot spots he has lined up this fall. He's promised to keep us posted. Thanks Steve.

To all of you other fall turkey chasers, share your hunts and photos. Send them to The Strut Zone via email (thestrutzone@yahoo.com) and I promise I'll run 'em.

Oh and on another note for Steve: Lookin' pretty sinister with that goatee dude. I hardly recognized ya.